How To Tell If You're Ready To Propose

March 18th, 2017

Moving from dating to engaged is a huge milestone and one that is sometimes met with nerves and a bit of confusion. If you often wonder, "Am I ready to propose?" it's time to take stock of your relationship. Our guide will help you learn how to know if it's time to propose.

In 2014, the number of marriages in the U.S. reached 2,140,272. Are you ready to become a part of that number? You're in a serious relationship. You survived meeting her parents. Maybe you even live together. You think she might be the one, but how do you know for sure if it's time to pop the question?

Moving from dating to engaged is a huge milestone and one that is sometimes met with nerves and a bit of confusion. If you often wonder, "Am I ready to propose?" it's time to take stock of your relationship. Our guide will help you learn how to know if it's time to propose.


You Think of "We" Instead of "Me"

In your younger single days, you thought in terms of "I" and "me."

I want to go out tonight. That spring break trip to Cancun will be great for me. I think I'm ready to own a dog. I really shouldn't have partied that hard last night. My bank account is really low this week.

Somewhere along the line, "me, me, me" slowly shifted to "we."


We're busy tonight eating take-out and binge-watching Netflix. We booked an awesome ski vacation in Aspen for Christmas. We've been looking at houses together. We can't wait to go to your party.

Congratulations! There's a strong possibility you're ready to propose.

Shifting your thinking toward the "we" mentality means you see yourself as a true couple. You feel your girlfriend is your partner, and you're definitely thinking long-term. You're a team, and you have a good shot of making it.

That doesn't mean you have to do everything together. Having alone time is a very healthy aspect of any relationship, but if you think of "we" more than "me," it's a good sign.

You Want to Leave the Single Life Behind

One key way to determine the answer to, "Is our relationship ready for marriage?" is by thinking about your status. Are you ready to give up your single status forever?


If the thought of being with your girl forever leaves you feeling warm and content, marriage may be on the horizon. If the thought of casting aside the single life has you clinging to your little black book and feeling a little sick, it's best to hold off on the proposal. It's not fair to either of you to propose if you're not truly comfortable with giving up your bachelor ways.

Asking for her hand in marriage doesn't mean you're giving up all the good times with friends. You can still enjoy guy's night out as long as it doesn't involve you picking up other women. The proposal does mean you are fully committed to one person. Listen to your gut to determine if you're ready for that kind of commitment or if you need more time.

You Reached a Major Milestone

Adulthood comes with many milestones: a new college degree, a raise, a promotion, a house. Those milestones often mean your life is on a successful path. You're achieving goals and working hard. Milestones like a new job or a raise give you more financial stability, which is always a good idea when popping the question.

Those steps into adulthood may also prepare you to make other adult moves, like getting married. Perhaps you had a specific milestone in mind, such as landing a new job, that you wanted to achieve before asking for her hand in marriage.


Now that you reached that milestone, what are you waiting for? Buy her a ring and celebrate your new achievement and your upcoming nuptials.

You Make Long-Term Plans

When you're wondering how to know if you're ready to propose, consider the types of plans you're making. Do they involve you and your partner, or are you thinking only of your own plans? Have you made plans that involve a long-term commitment, such as getting a pet together or moving in together? Do you have big plans to travel to Europe together next summer? Perhaps you've already talked about getting married.

You don't have to map out every move you'll make going forward, but making long-term plans together may be a sign you're ready to propose. When you naturally talk about things like future vacations and your future home together, it's based on the assumption you'll be together in the long run — and that's a good sign it's time to consider popping the question.

If the idea of planning too far in advance makes you nervous, you may need a little more time to decide if a proposal is right.

You Share the Same Values

They say opposites attract, but that isn't always true when it comes to your morals and values. Every couple has disagreements but if you have conflicting views on the big things in life, it could be a sign of trouble down the road.

Your core beliefs are a fundamental part of who you are as a person, just as your partner's beliefs are a fundamental part of who she is. Those values and beliefs guide the way you make choices and behave in life. For example, if you value honesty, commitment and loyalty, you will likely be a devoted husband who is faithful.

Sharing those core values means you and your future wife have a similar method of approaching life. Since your core values don't usually change, it's important that your beliefs are compatible with your partner.


Consider how each of you feels on these areas, which are often major sources of conflict:

  • Religious beliefs
  • Money saving versus spending
  • Parenting
  • Living arrangements
  • Conflict resolution
  • Honesty, commitment, loyalty, integrity, etc.
  • Any other area that is very important to you

When you share the same values and have a similar outlook on what's important in life, you form a strong team. You're more likely to want the same things in life, which cuts down on conflict and helps you work together to achieve those goals.

You Support One Another

Your goals and ambitions might not always be the same as your future spouse, but you should support one another in those pursuits. Have you taken the time to discuss your passions and ambitions in life? Are those goals compatible even if they aren't identical?

A successful marriage is based on mutual respect and support of one another — no matter how ridiculous the other person's dream may seem. Being supportive isn't always about the big things in life, like a career change. It can be about the little things, such as supporting each other's hobbies even if you don't participate in them yourself.

If you can say you've found your personal cheerleader and you provide that same cheerleader-like support to her, it may be time to buy that ring.

You're Open With One Another


Your partner knows more about you than almost anyone else — except maybe your mom. You know her just as well. Why are you so familiar with one another? It's because of the openness between you.

Successful relationships require honesty and a willingness to share. If you both feel safe enough to share without feeling judged, you are on your way to wedding bells. That sense of safety comes from a relationship based on mutual respect and openness. You have to really listen to one another and see things from the other person's perspective to achieve that respectful, honest relationship.

You Bring out the Best in Each Other

When you propose, you're asking your girl to spend the rest of her life with you. Since forever is a long time, you want a spouse who brings out the best in you and you in her.

That doesn't mean you need to fix one another, but it is important to feel you are good for one another. Does she inspire you to be loving and romantic even if that never came naturally to you? Do you want to achieve more to give her a good life? Does she make you feel more patient and kind when you're together? Do you bring out a sense of playful competition in each other?

If you can bring out the best in each other despite differences in your personalities, it's a sign you're a good match. You may not be the same, but you complement one another well.

Your Friends and Family Approve


You don't need the okay from family and friends, but it definitely helps if they see the two of you as a good fit. Friends and family are often a good gauge of the relationship. They know you better than anyone, and they often notice if a relationship has a negative impact on you. You don't have to ask for permission, but knowing your friends and family are all for the engagement clears the way.

Consider the reverse situation. Do you enjoy her family and friends? Can you imagine yourself being a part of the family or circle of friends? If the relationship between family and friends is strained, that tension can seep into your marriage. Address any issues now if marriage is on the horizon. This helps you decide how you will deal with those situations so the conflict doesn't hurt your relationship.

You Have Realistic Expectations of Marriage

Before you propose, imagine what married life will be like. Understand that marriage isn't going to solve your problems. Accept that you will face challenges and you'll have to work at making your marriage strong and successful.

Engaged couples sometimes fail to think about life after the wedding. The dress, the ring, the reception — those aspects of getting engaged are exciting, but the weeks, months and years after your wedding day are the ones that really matter.

Discuss married life with your potential spouse before you propose. Do you both have a realistic outlook on what it will be like as a married couple?

The state of your current relationship is also a way to determine what married life will be like. If your relationship is positive overall and you are able to work well together, married life shouldn't be a problem.

You Communicate Well

How well do you communicate with your partner? If you talk openly and are able to express yourselves to one another, you're on the right path.

Now think about your arguments. Every couple has them occasionally. It's healthy to speak up when you don't see eye to eye. The true test of the relationship is how you handle those disagreements. Do you fight fair, or do you take low blows at one another? Do you discuss the issue at hand or bring up past problems?

Communication problems don't necessarily mean you should find someone new, but they do indicate an area you need to work on with your partner. If the lines of communication seem to be tangled, consider couple's counseling to help improve in that area.

You Enjoy Each Other Even During Uneventful Times

It's easy to enjoy someone's company while dining at a popular restaurant, going on vacation or attending concerts. It's those quiet, mundane times that really put the relationship to the test.

Marriage is full of many mundane tasks — doing laundry, cleaning the house, cooking, paying bills, work. Do you still enjoy being around your potential spouse during those times? Tackling the to-do list doesn't have to be the most exciting part of your day, but it should be something you don't mind doing together. Thinking about how you handle those everyday tasks now gives you a glimpse into your future married life.


You Work Well Together During Difficult Times

Sometimes life changes from mundane to downright stressful and difficult. You've likely already weathered some difficult times: loss of a job, broken friendships, family conflict, death of someone close.

No matter how happy you are as a couple, eventually you'll face difficult situations. Most people can hang when things are going well, but make sure both you and your partner can hang tough when things get difficult.

Here are some things to consider when it comes to dealing with stressful or difficult situations:

  • Do the lines of communication break down when you are under stress?
  • Do you know how to support one another when one or both of you are upset?
  • Do you complement one another in stressful situations? For example, if she gets emotional and can't focus, you are able to stay calm and look at the bigger picture to help her deal with the situation.
  • Do you feel your partner will stick around even when things get difficult, or is she likely to bail when things get too tough?
  • When you think about dealing with a difficult situation, is she the first person you would want there to help you through that situation?

Some questions may be difficult to answer if you haven't gone through a trying situation yet, but you likely have an idea of how both of you might act based on your personalities.

You Have Your Finances in Order

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Money isn't everything, but entering into a marriage when your finances are messy sets the union off on rocky footing. Discuss each of your financial situations to determine if there are any red flags that could cause a problem.

You also need the financial capability to buy her the ring she's been eying — or at least a close replica. If you're on the track to marriage, you may start cutting back in other areas in order to save up cash for the ring or the wedding. Skipping an occasional night out and brown bagging your lunches don't feel like sacrifices because you know that money you save is going toward something you really want.

Another aspect of financial readiness is a compatible view on spending and saving, as well as a similar financial situation. If one person is a compulsive spender with no savings and the other is very frugal, the potential for conflict is high. If one person wants to live a simple life while the other wants to experience all the best things in life, finding a middle ground can be difficult.

Put your finances out in the open if you're considering a marriage proposal. Compare your thoughts on spending, saving and investing. Determine if you need to pay off debts or build more savings before you get engaged.

If you share many of the same philosophies and you are both financially stable, start shopping for rings. If you can't agree on anything financial, give yourself some more time to assess the situation.

You Enhance One Another's Lives

Marriage is not a quick fix for an unhappy or unfulfilled life. Of course you bring joy and happiness to each other's lives, but you should also both feel confident and content with your own individual lives. Instead of being the only good thing for your partner, you should enhance one another's lives.

Another way to think about it is that you are both two individual, whole people coming together rather than two halves completing one another's lives. If one partner relies on the other for happiness, the relationship needs some work.

You Know She'll Say Yes

If her answer could go either way, you may need a little more time before you get down on one knee. Ideally, you'll already have conversations about your future life together. The timing and circumstances can be a surprise, but the fact that you're proposing should not come out of the blue.

Beyond the obvious conversations about future nuptials, your potential bride-to-be might start dropping hints of her own to get the ball rolling. If she starts talking about the perfect engagement ring, leaves her dream wedding Pinterest board on her computer screen or sends you links to wedding articles, chances are good that she'll give you an enthusiastic yes when you propose.

Even if you're sure she'll accept your proposal, it's natural to feel nervous. That's a completely different feeling than truly not knowing whether or not she'll say yes.

You Can't Stop Thinking About Proposing

Do you find yourself imaging how you'll propose? Do you know what you want the ring to look like?

If the perfect proposal is always on your mind — and the thought doesn't terrify you — there's a strong chance the time is near. You might also start thinking about the wedding itself. You probably aren't picturing all those little details that your partner envisions, but meeting the woman you want to marry has a way of making you start thinking about things you never really thought about before.

Your gut is often the best indicator of whether or not you're ready to propose. If thinking about the proposal and — more importantly — marriage feels right, it probably is. If the thought causes panic or feels forced, give yourself more time to process what is happening.

Plan Your Proposal

You've answered, "Am I ready to get married?" with a resounding, "Yes!" So what are you waiting for? Hawaii is an ideal vacation proposal spot for any couple. While you're here, visit The Wedding Ring Shop — we offer the perfect engagement ring option for your proposal. Work with our staff to create an engagement ring that symbolizes your love. We can even help you come up with ideas to make your romantic proposal one she'll always remember.